Robert Downey Jr and Gwyneth Paltrow at the world premiere of "Iron Man 2"

Was there just a little too much Robert Downey, Jr. and Gwyneth Paltrow in the media over the past few weeks?

Credit: AP Photo/Matt Sayles

UPDATED: 'Iron Man 2': makes only $128.1 million - blockbuster or summer box office underachiever?

Update: May 10, 2:52 PM - The actual figures are in for this weekends box office and surprise, surprise, "Iron Man 2" generated $128.1 million over the 3-day weekend.  That still put the sequel in the fifth slot all time, but the figure was off an eyebrow raising $5.5 million. A discrepancy that big won't be lost on Paramount's competitors.

In hindsight to the original post below, that puts "Iron Man 2" approximately $30 million behind projections before its debut. 

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Being the first movie out of the gate during the highly profitable summer movie season is never easy, but when you're the sequel to a surprise hit that helped sell a comic book company for $4.3 billion there is even more pressure to deal with.  That was the case for "Iron Man 2" this weekend and its strong, but not spectacular estimated gross of $133.6 million.

After the original "Iron Man" grossed an unexpected $98 million on its way to over $318 million two years ago, the expectations were high for the second go around.  Robert Downey, Jr. became one of  Hollywood's all-time comeback kids (did you think Jude Law was the reason "Sherlock Holmes" became a monster hit?), original director (and fan favorite) Jon Favreau was back, Oscar nominee Mickey Rourke agreed to play the film's villain Whiplash and Scarlett Johansson seemed more than sexy enough to tease teenage boys as the Black Widow.  Plus, unknown to many, the Walt Disney company's acquisition of Marvel Studios injected a bit more capital into "Iron Man 2's" budget (a reported $170 million overall) after complaints Marvel's thriftiness embarrassed even the most conservative industry accountants.  Oh, and did we mention that ever since the sequel was announced it had been one of the most polled "must see" movies across the board?

So, with a record 4,380 screens at its disposal, industry polling services saying it was off the charts (one service predicted $140 million plus, the other two went for $150 million plus) there was an increasing amount of optimism that "Iron Man 2" would come close to breaking "The Dark Knight's" $158.4 million record.  And if not, i would be damn close.  Even without the higher ticket prices of 3-D!

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Leonardo DiCaprio and Marion Cotillard in "Inception"

Leonardo DiCaprio and Marion Cotillard in a more romantic moment in "Inception."

Credit: Warner Bros.

Watch: Will 'Inception' surprise as the summer's biggest tearjerker?

Christopher Nolan's latest mind bender packs an emotional wallop

After "The Dark Knight," director Christopher Nolan has reached a status where every new film he makes will have a serious amount of anticipation surrounding it.  The first few teasers or his latest endeavor, "Inception," hinted at something special, a Leonardo DiCaprio thriller that might truly leave you guessing at just what exactly is going on.  The first complete trailer, on the other hand, promises something much more.

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Samuel L. Jackson discusses "Mother and Child."

Samuel L. Jackson talks "Mother and Child."

Watch: Samuel L. Jackson and Annette Bening navigate 'Mother and Child'

Two acclaimed actors discuss Rodrigo Garcia's new melodrama, the Weinsteins and more

Rodrigo Garcia faced a long road bringing "Mother and Child" to the screen.  Financing independent films has never been easy and in this current economy and the increasingly undependable home entertainment market it's becoming almost non-existent.  Through perseverance Garcia was able to cobble enough money to get his melodrama to the big screen and a premiere at last year's Toronto Film Festival.  Now, Sony Pictures Classics is bringing "Child" to theaters slowly,  but surely, across the country.

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Taylor Lautner and Kristen Stewart at the premiere of "New Moon."

Taylor Lautner and Kristen Stewart at the premiere of "New Moon" in Westood in November.

Credit: AP Photo/Matt Sayles

'The Twilight Saga: Eclipse' to premiere at 2010 Los Angeles Film Festival

'Kids Are All Right,' 'Despicable Me,' 'Mayler on the Couch' highlight this year's slate

Film Independent announced the selections for the 2010 Los Angeles Film Festival this year which will move from its Westwood neighborhood home of five years to downtown Los Angeles. 

For movie fans, the highlight is no doubt the world premiere of "The Twilight Saga: Eclipse," which will debut on June 24 at the Nokia Theater at LA Live.  The 7,000 seat auditorium is no stranger to big movie premieres as it premiered "Michael Jackson's This Is It" last October.  To say it will be even more of a scene with stars Kristen Stewart, Robert Pattinson and the rest of the "Twilight" crew in attendance  is something of an understatement, but it will provide a huge publicity boost for LAFF.  That said, Summit might have to go to Dodger Stadium for "Breaking Dawn" to out do this one.

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Steven Spielberg

He may have been jealous of James Cameron's "Avatar," but Steven Spielberg is heading for the "War Horse" next.

Credit: AP Photo

Steven Spielberg takes a prestige turn with 'War Horse'

WW I drama centers on a boy's search for his horse

After shooting the motion-capture picture "The Adventures of Tin-Tin: The Secret of the Unicorn," which has a long post-production process, Steven Spielberg has been debating what to direct next.  After considering a biopic about George Gershwin and the Sci-Fi thriller "Robopocalypse," the cinema icon has finally decided to return to the front with "War Horse."

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Naomi Watts and Sean Penn in Fair Game

Naomi Watts and Sean Penn in Cannes Film Festival entry "Fair Game."

Credit: Summit Entertainment

Oscar Watch: Summit ready to thrill with Cannes contender 'Fair Game'

Plus: Thoughts on Ricky Gervais returning to the globes and more

Summit Entertainment has worked hard to broaden its image as just the "Twilight" studio and winning the Best Picture statue for "The Hurt Locker" this past March was a huge step.  Along with the solid performance of the thriller "The Ghost Writer" in limited release ($14 million in no more than 819 theaters), the mini-major is slowly turning into an appealing alternative to Lionsgate or The Weinstein Company for independent producers wanting to find an experienced and smart distributor for their films.  That was the case today when Summit acquired domestic and some international rights to Doug Liman's "Fair Game," a dramatic thriller based on the true story of outed CIA agent Valerie Palme.

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Diane Lane and John Malkovich in "Secretariat"

Diane Lane and John Malkovich in "Secretariat."

Credit: Walt Disney Studios

First Look: Oscar heading to the races with 'Secretariat'

Prestige period pic getting a Kentucky Derby push

Like baseball and football, Hollywood has had an affinity with horse racing movies. From "National Velvet" to "Seabiscuit" to "The Black Stallion" there has been something about a sport that combines graceful and beautiful thoroughbreds with the ability to get rich quick that has intrigued moviegoers.  Now, Walt Disney is bringing the story of one of the most famous champions ever to the big screen in "Secretariat."

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Jeff Bridges in his Oscar-winning role from "Crazy Heart"

Jeff Bridges in his Oscar-winning role from "Crazy Heart."

Credit: Fox Searchlight

Exclusive DVD Clip: Meet Bad Blake's never-before seen son from 'Crazy Heart'

Upcoming DVD and Blu-ray features a number of deleted scenes

It's no secret that Scott Cooper's "Crazy Heart" took a long and strange journey to the big screen.  Cooper had initially tried to make the film come together with Bridges, but only got him to commit after producer and songwriter T-Bone Burnett came on board.  And even with talent like Burnett and stars such as Bridges, Maggie Gyllenhaal and Robert Duvall (also a producer) in the fold, "Heart" had issues getting distribution.  An early cut of the drama was screened for a number of potential suitors including Paramount Pictures who passed, but the film they saw was not what eventually hit theaters.  Cooper re-edited the film trimming a lot of the fat along the way.  Which was a very good thing. Especially for Bridges -- who won his first Academy Award -- and Fox Searchlight who has grossed almost $40 million off the $7 million budgeted flick.

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John Travolta and Samuel L. Jackson in Pulp Fiction

Just like John Travola and Samuel L. Jackson in "Pulp Fiction," the Weinsteins are a bit bloodied, but you can never count them out

Credit: Miramax

Weinsteins close to reclaiming 'Pulp Fiction,' 'Shakespeare in Love' and Miramax

Disney and the Bros. set an exclusive window to reclaim their baby

If there is one mantra that should be carved in stone in the Hollywood Hills it's "never say never."  In what could only be described as improbable five years ago is amazingly close to reality: Harvey and Bob Weinstein are days away from reclaiming Miramax Films.

Launched in 1979 and named after their parents Max and Miriam, the Weinstein's company went from no-name indie outfit to Oscar-winning and box office power by the late 1990s.  It was acquired by Walt Disney Studios in 1993, but both Weinstein brothers stayed on board to shepherd such hits as "Pulp Fiction," "Scary Movie," "Scream," "Trainspotting," "Flirting with Disaster," "Good Will Hunting" and "Bridget Jones Diary."  They also became premier award season players spending millions to allegedly make more millions on Best Picture winners "Shakespeare in Love" and "Chicago" along with players such as "Gangs of New York," "The Cider House Rules" and "Chocolat."  Things turned sour by late 2004 though when outgoing Disney CEO Michael Eisner had had enough of the brothers and made sure their contracts to run the company were not renewed. 

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Naomi Watts returns to Cannes

Naomi Watts will return to Cannes in Doug Liman's Valerie Plame drama "Fair Game," the only U.S. production in competition this year.

Credit: AP Photo

Valerie Plame, 'Wall Street' and Woody Allen make the 2010 Cannes Film Festival slate

A significant lack of intriguing American films for this edition of the fest

Some of the world's premier press agencies boycotted covering the announcement of the official Cannes Film Fest line up this year after a row over red carpet access, but that didn't stop quick dissemination of who was in and who was out in one of the more speculated competitions of the year.  Running from May 12-23, Cannes is recognized as the world's premier international film festival and many filmmakers crave winning the fest's top prize, the Palm d'Or, ahead of putting an Academy Award statue on their mantle.

Word had been leaked for some time that Hollywood wouldn't dominate this year's edition -- it rarely does -- but there was hope Terrence Malick's long awaited "The Tree of Life" with Brad Pitt and Doug Liman's "Fair Game" with Naomi Watts and Sean Penn would make the cut. Cinefiles will have to be happy that only one of those titles will screen on the Croisette this year.  Moreover, IndieWire reports that up to 12 more films will be added to the slate, but at first glace this is a very uninteresting year.

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